Thursday, August 11, 2005
Thomas Cyrnak may have been serving a penalty, but that didn't stop him from instructing his lacrosse teammates about what to do in the final 30 seconds.
"Ice it," Cyrnak screamed from the sideline. "Ice it."
It was good advice, but for the wrong sport. But Cyrnak didn't know another way to tell his Falcons teammates -- who were playing with a one-goal lead -- to keep the lacrosse ball away from the opposing Fighting Irish players.
Many of the sixth- and seventh-graders playing in Thursday's summer league championship play hockey, which explains why Cyrnak would use hockey lingo to get his point across. But the boys are picking up lacrosse quickly.
It was the first year playing the sport for a majority of the players on the Whistler Park field, and they were throwing, passing and catching just as well as any first-year lacrosse players, including those in high school.
Jake Flax, a coach for the Fighting Irish, didn't begin playing lacrosse until his freshman year. The incoming senior has become one of Steamboat's best players. He wished he had the opportunity to start the sport in middle school.
"I do feel cheated," he said. "These kids are going to be All-Stars."
A summer coaching the youths has helped Flax, as well, he said. He and his brother Andy Flax were patrolling the sidelines Thursday, yelling instructions and trying to help the lacrosse rookies understand where they needed to be and why.
For the most part, everyone listened, which isn't always the case as players get older.
"We trust the coaches more," said Lance Ostrom, who was on the winning Falcons team. "The eighth-graders know what they are doing more than we do."
After playing goalie in the first half, Ostrom moved to the field in the second half and ended up scoring the winning goal with less than two minutes remaining. Teammate Wilber Ranieri was credited with the assist. At one point in the game, the Falcons trailed 10-4 before coming back. As the top seed, the Falcons opened the game with a 1-0 lead but lost it within the first minute. They didn't have it again until the final two minutes.
"We've been down seven before," Ranieri said. "If we didn't have that one goal at the beginning, we'd be tied."
The sixth- and seventh-graders played 4-on-4 with one goalie and three in the field. The goals were just 40 yards apart. The fewer players allowed for more passing and more scoring and forced the boys to recover quickly on defense.
Members of the winning Falcons team present Thursday were: Cyrnak, Aleck Gantick, Sam Harrelson, Ostrom and Ranieri.
Members of the runner-up Fighting Irish present Thursday were: John Burrow, Craig Discenza, Connor Landusky, Grant McCannon and Jake Miller.